Keeping good company Posted August 25, 2014 by Daniel Ostroff

In 1949, Alexander Girard presented An Exhibition For Modern Living at the Detroit Institute for the Arts.

Keeping Good Company

According to the website,, “This exhibition has achieved legendary status in the pantheon of American modernism, due to Girard’s stewardship and the site-specific custom room installations by Alvar Aalto, Bruno Mathsson, Jens Risom, Florence Knoll (ably assisted by Eero Saarinen, Franco Albini, Pierre Jeanneret, Abel Sorensen, Andre Dupres and Hans Bellmann), Van-Keppel Green, George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, and others.”

Above is a two-page spread from a Life magazine article about the still-relevant exhibition. The Eames Child’s Chair kept good company; it was displayed with inexpensive goods and useful objects.

Over sixty years later, there are many things that designers of the twenty-first century can take away from this exhibition and use as inspiration to make more “good goods” that are useful, affordable, and long lasting. The goal is to design objects that belong both in a museum and in a kitchen drawer.